Firefighting Knives

Aug 18, 1999
I'm new to the forums and love what I have seen so far. I am curious to hear from other firefighters or rescue personnel about their choice in a field knife. I currently carry the CS Land - Sea Rescue and it seems a bit blade heavy for delicate work - ie. clothing removal. It's great, though, for cutting seatbelts and digging through debris on salvage & Overhaul. What do you carry and why?

Daryl J. Yearwood

Bad CPR is better than no CPR at all - do SOMETHING!
I've been in Fire/EMS for about 5 years and have carried a number of knives/tools in that time.
If I had to pick just ONE knife, I'd go for the Leatherman WAVE. The pliers always seem to come in handy (opening O2 bottles, tightening nuts, etc.) but the best feature is that there are 2 blades that can be opened with one hand. The blade I would use for seat belts, removing clothing would be the Sheep's Foot blade. No point, aggressive edge.
You might want to look into Meyerco's Rescue One, designed by Blackie Collins. I have no experience with that knife, but there's a screwdriver tip, serrated edge and at the back, a tungston punch.
Personally, I don't know how often EMS personnel have the opportunity to be breaking windowss (I know that my uniform doesn't appreciate flying glass as well as the firefighter's turnout gear) but it might be something to consider.
Greetings fellow smoke eaters:
Though I'm no longer in the service, ruptured disc ended my career, here's what worked for me. A spring loaded punch for the windows. Buck 110 for cutting seatbelts as far away from the victim as possible, (the rescue one by Meyerco is a nice piece for this). A pair of scissors for removing clothing (no sharp edges to cause futher injury) fairly cheap and easy to carry. A rescue tool that was a combo hatchet/pry bar/wedge/forcible entry etc, the truck carried it so weight wasn't a factor.
If that didn't work we used a Hurst can opener.

YES,it is sharp, just keep your fingers out of the way!

As I've said before on the forum. While on
duty I carry a older Spyderco Endura with a
combo edge. Great overall knife that isn't
to expensive to lose. I carry a small pair of EMT scissors and a gerber paratool in my belt pouch. I carry a automatic center punch in my bunker coat for windows. When working around patients I use the EMT scissors, I think they are much safer for the patient and myself. And in 23 years I have yet to cut someone out of a seatbelt, latch works for me. I have cut lots of seat belts when removing roofs during extrication, the Endura
combo edge works OK here. When on a fire response I move the Endrua from my pants pocket to a pocket in my turnouts. Ever try to get something out of a front pants pocket while wearing full turnouts and an airpack?
Greetings! I am not smoke-eater, the barbecue is as close as I get, but hey, you guys are the real modern heros as far as I am concerned. It is pricey for me to suggest this to guys who risk their a$$ for a couple measly dollars day in day out, but I have to suggest the best. Randall Knives has a model they call the Fireman's knife, which is basically indestructible with a very heavy duty handle, good for grabbing with gloves on, and was used by a Fireman in Georgia (atlanta?) to extricate himself immediately from a tangle of wire in a ductwork, cutting and prying himself out like their was no obstruction on him or his gear. The FD bought thirty the next day, at $225 per knife. Go to the Randall Knives home page (url?) and ask about it. It is not in their standard catalog, but in their supplement. Delivery time is a little long, but if you are gonna make a career out of this they may push you to the head of the line for this knife. It does not hurt to ask.

You may also want to try the Cold Steel Tanto in a kydex sheath in your coat pocket, very tough knife, sharp and can punch a hole in virtually anything. ColdSteel SRK if you are on a budget, ditto on the kydex sheath in the pocket of the bunker coat.

EMS only...I like the spyderco as opposed to the cold steel for ease of opening, and the rescue is the blunt nose version of the endura I carry every day. Comes with an orange handle.

Hope this helps save your butt one day.
Hi folks,

I carry the CS L&S Rescue but I hate the thought of losing a &60 knife. I lost a CQC7 in a tragic fishing accident. Ok. The only thing tragic was the loss of my knife
but I can't afford that kind of $ hit. I carry the old ER-1 but the lock is lousy and the blade won't stay out. I am thinking about a fixed blade with a seatbelt/gut hook on the back of the blade. If I could find one for under $40 I would pick up a couple (I will surely lose the first one - that's my curse) I only use my knife on clothing when I can't get my hands on trauma shears but this does happen in our all-volunteer department. I have been toying with the idea of a CS second quality Recon Tanto to carry on interior attack/SAR activities just in case I have to "make a door." It's kind of big but it will cut anything! The problem always boils down to weight and space. If I carried everything I think that I might need, I would weigh 500lbs when packed-out and that is not an option (I am 6" and 270 in my BVD's - that's what 15 years of powerlifting does for you). I look for multi-use solutions and on that topic, multi-tools are pretty much useless for me and always too cumbersome to open in firefighting gloves so I am after knives (tools) that I can comfortably manipulate with gloves in no-light situations.

Thanks for the welcome and I look forward to more discussions.


Bad CPR is better than no CPR at all - do SOMETHING!
15 years of powerlifting, eh?
Were they 12 or 16 oz. mugs?

If you spend a bit more ($56?) you could try the Buck Cross Lock. The link's below.
I carried that for a while, but never had a chance to use it in an emergency. The blades are easy to flick open, so wearing gloves isn't a problem. I know what you mean about the price, though. I kept mine clipped to the inside of my coat.

I never felt the need for a fixed blade, but I always wondered if I could fit one of those cheap titanium crowbars someplace!

Do you ever see those late at night infomercials featuring "collector" knives? The knives are inexpensive and most likely cheap, but you might find a compromise there, especially if you can sell them to your students.

FYI, the link to your website gave me some trouble until I added a "www." in front of the URL. Thought you'd wanna know.

BeerMugPowerLift Champ, 1996-1999
One last time, then I'll shuddup.
(Missus Fire wants the PC)

This was a rare situation, but it might give you something to think about.

A while back, we were called to a scene where we had to deal with a patient that was between a car and some bushes. Police had declared it a crime scene, so we couldn't move the car. We had 4 EMT's trying to get into a space that could comfortably handle one person. I got tired of having branches stuck up my ... back, so I turned around and cut down 6 main branches (about an inch in diameter) in what seemed like a minute. At the time, I didn't think about it, but now I'm amazed at how NASTY that Police CUT! I couldn't have cut any faster using a saw. The only complaint I had was that it was kinda hard to grasp at first, with latex/blood/shaky hands. Can't blame Spyderco for the latter, though!
Just some food for thought if anyone's ever been in a similar situation, or might find themselves in one.
Just got in from a rockin' car fire. Late model full-sized van fully involved. (I love the sound of exploding tires in the morning) Thanks for the info on my site link. I am used to my browser which "assumes" the www so I forget to put it in alot of times. I've looked at the Buck and have had some others tell me that they carry it. I may have to give it a serious "look-see". The earlier post on the "firefighting knife" for $225 is way out of my league. We are all volunteers and anything like that would have to come out of my pocket which doesn't have $225 in it right now. If it did I would have to buy baby food for the little smoke-eater.
BTW, I am the Captain over Station #2 with 8 years experience. I am also the departments Training Officer and an EMS First Responder. I hold a certification for Hazardous Materials First Responder, Operations Level and have been a Vehicle Extrication Technician for all 8 years. I LOVE MY JOB; even though I don't get paid.


Bad CPR is better than no CPR at all - do SOMETHING!
I am still in school to be an EMT-P. I lug around a Spyderco Rescue Jr. The Rescue Jr. is lightweight and is scary-sharp. It doesn't cost alot like the other blades out there. I purchased it over the Cold Steel Rescue because of its smaller size, weight and blade material. I am fortunate not to have used it yet in a life and death situation. But when that time comes, I know it will do it's job. Smith and Wesson has a knife named First Responder. It is serrated and has a window punch built in for those of you interested.
There are some concerns with the Buck CrossLock. First, the Zytel handle can fail and the blade will fold back as mentioned by Dennis Wright in the <A HREF="">Crosslock</A> thread on the Buck Knives Forum. Second, the CrossLock is due for redesign so you might want to wait and see, if you decide on a Buck. Again, Dennis is the source of info in the High-end crosslock thread this time.

REI has the current CrossLock Double Blade for $50.00.

Cold Steel also makes the ER-1 that I have seen advertised for around $25.

FYI Here are some other threads on this subject. Rescue Knife Carry and Rescue styles Knives: Spyderco, Cold Steel or 'X' ?

"A knifeless man is a lifeless man"
-Nordic proverb

[This message has been edited by David Williams (edited 19 August 1999).]
The van sounded like a lotta fun! I'm not able to do too much as far as firefighting's concerned anymore. I had 2 knee operations but my knee's still a total mess. Just running EMS at this time. Although I DID get a fix a couple of weeks ago when a neighbor's car caught on fire and I got to empty out my 2-5pound DryChem's.

We're all volly here as well, but I'm fortunate enough (this week, at least) to be able to buy some of the upper end knives. The Randall has some definite possibilities! I would have some reservations about carrying a nast looking fixed blade in my community, though. Some of the police around here don't have a sense of humor. lol
I have 5+ years on Fire, 4+ years on EMS. Fire's are pretty slow around here, so the EMS keeps me running.
Ya know, if you wanted a strong fixed blade, why not check into the Marine Corps Combat Knife (a/k/a KABAR)? They're certainly cheap enough, and they never failed me.... I never "made" a door though!
Spirex brought up the subject of the First Responder. I HAVE used that one but I was disappointed in the manufacturer. In the instructions, they went out of the way to "URGE" you to pry with it. Well, I took them at their word and pried off an entire windshield. When I was finished, the blade would no longer lock in the closed position. I have to admit, the center punch was much better than the ones you find at conventions. It really packs a PUNCH! (No pun intended)
Spyderco makes a small knife with a quick detachment that attaches to the hooks on your coat. I don't remember the name, but the blade is extremely aggressive, and is also large enough to open with one gloved hand. I'm sure it would cut through soft metal, and POSITIVE that it would cut any rope or hose in short order. I also keep a Spyderco Rescue clipped to my sunvisor. It's small and light, but more of a standard sheepsfoot type of edge then the needly type edge found on the standard Spydercos.
By the way, the only BAD CPR that's worse than none is the 15/2 ratio, but reversed!(15 breaths; 2 compressions) The belly fills up and before long, the stomach contents tend to redecorate your surroundings.

By the way, thanks to David Williams for the links to the previous posts. I'm still new, and it's hard to catch up to all the past information.

All the Best,

That's my two cents. Hey! How come you're giving me change?